Ever met a guy who never missed a beat when it came to talking about his ex?
I know of one such person who had been married to a woman for nearly 20 years.
When their relationship came to a screeching halt due to an indiscretion, he seemed to not be able to get over it. His angst about the past purculated at all types of situations. When gathered around at birthday parties, sometimes you’d hear him drop some sort of bitter banter during a social event.
Even years later one thing was clear, he was not over his ex, and no woman, despite being ‘happily remarried’ would ever remove that pain from the past. Was he just a jerk or someone who loved so much that it still wounded his pride?
Apparently a relationship study conducted by Binghamton University reported that men rarely, if ever, get over their ex–especially if it was a woman that he loved. Women get hurt more but recover. Men may never recover at all, if the got hurt.
This sounds like bad news to any woman who is back wading in the dating pool and all that seems to be available are divorced men and their children creating a needed attachment to their love of the past.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the dating female (or male divorcee). There are some signs that you can look for that reveal if a man is not over an ex, and never will be. You can also learn how to spot a guy who loved and lost but found a way to get over it and move on.
What are the tell tale signs of a man who is not over his ex? Yes, here are a few questions to ask when dating a guy who was once married and seems to be looking for love again.
Did his last relationship end slowly where they separated on good terms and in agreement or did it come as a shock to him?
A man who was caught unaware that things were ending is dealing with compounding emotions. First, that he allowed himself to love someone who he thought he could trust, but realized that he was wrong. The pride gets wounded and he questions everything including his ability to judge character. It takes longer for a man to nurse his wounds after a strike to his pride. Often the love that seems to linger is really a mourning the loss of his manhood. Each time he remembers her, he’s reminded of his wounded ego.
Was she out of his league to begin with? Men love the chase of a woman, and when the find one they think is out of this world, it’s a huge boost to their ego in a good way. That same boost can be a crashing down on their emotions when a woman that was a prize decides they aren’t worthy of her time or love any longer. It sends a message of ‘not good enough’ but also that their unable to ‘fix’ a problem. These two messages can demotivate him from trying again so hard in the future. Each time he sees how great a new woman in his life there’s a voice that might tell him to keep his guards up because he won’t be able to make her happy down the road. It takes a long time for his self-esteem to rebuild, that is, if it ever does.
Was she his best friend? When a man loses a wife that was also his best friend he may find it difficult to recover because he learned to rely on her emotionally and to confide to her things that he ordinarily wouldn’t tell his male friends or a therapist. He may feel like he not only lost the relationship but his partner in life. Friendships take time to develop and the longer the friendship the greater the sense that something is gone that can’t be replaced.
Do they coparent? It’s tough to be reminded that you still aren’t with someone you once thought you’d spend your entire life with. For some relationships, there’s a clean break. There are no children, pets or property involved so unless there are lingering reasons to stay in touch, out of sight/out of mind begins.
But with coparenting, seeing your ex, their new significant other, the house he once owned, the car he might have washed for her, and other things becomes a consistent reminder that happily ever after may not end so well, and for that, he holds on to the past as a reminder to not make the same mistake in the future, ever again.
Does he take responsibility for what he did wrong in the relationship? Without the ability to see that no one is perfect, even himself, it’s hard to forgive and let go. The perspective that he may have created in some way the problem that caused the breakup can leave him emotionally stuck in time. Hence, making it tough to let go of his ex.